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PLGA Polymer

CAS No: 26780-50-7
Molecular Formula: (C6H8O4)n(C4H4O4)m
Density: ‎1.2-1.3 g/ml
Chemical Names: Poly(D,L-lactide-co- glycolide)
Tg: 40-60 C
Appearance: White or light yellow powder
Minimal order quantity: 30 gram

Poly(lactic-co-glycolic-acid), which is also called PLGA or PLG, is a copolymer used in a variety of FDA-approved therapeutic devices. The main features include high biodegradability and biocompatibility, making it one of the most used synthetic devices for drug delivery and various tissue engineering applications.

PLGA is a copolymer formed from polylactic acid (PLA) and polyglycolic acid (PGA). Extensive studies have examined the biodegradability of PLGA. It features the characteristics needed for sustained drug delivery, including increased strength and slower degradation compared to PGA and PLA polymers.

PLGA is commonly produced as polymeric particles for use in the biomedical field. The particles range in size from microns to several millimeters, depending on the requirements of the application. The material can be used for sustained release at desirable doses without surgical procedures. The overall physical properties may also be tuned to control the ratio of lactide to glycolide, allowing for adjustments to the desired dosage and release interval.

The primary uses for poly(lactic-co-glycolic-acid)/PLGA include drug delivery, body tissue engineering, and additional biomedical applications. It is approved by the FDA and frequently used in clinical and basic scientific research, including research into cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In the dentistry field, PLGA is often used to produce screws for bone fixtures and in periodontal treatments. Dentists may use PLGA for better administration of antibiotics. In tissue engineering, the copolymer provides an effective material for bone and tissue regeneration. However, PLGA is mostly used for drug delivery.When used as a drug carrier, the nanoparticles are either surface coated or encapsulated.

PLGA is well suited for applications that require a delivery method that can protect drugs from premature degradation. The increased solubility and bioavailability of PLGA nanoparticles ensures a safe delivery method. It also allows for the targeting of specific sites and facilitates cell entry.

Frequently Asking Questions


1. What is the degradation time of PLGA?

There is no uniform data on the degradation of PLGA, the degradation process involves many factors, below are the three main factors :

1, The material itself (such as L-PLA or L-PLA , the size of molecular weight)

2, Production shape (such as thin film, solid rod, porous scaffold, microspheres with different shapes and the same polymer degradation can be much different)

3, The usage of the environment (in vivo or in vitro, subcutaneous or blood vessels, biliary tract, etc. The environment is completely the same The degradation of polymers is much different, there is no comparability). Each factor will affect the degradation rate.

There are some small factors (such as molecular weight distribution, monomer residue, catalyst residue, etc.), so the degradation can only be based on the specific situation. Here is the general rule of PLGA: the higher the GA content of the same molecular weight, the faster the degradation;  the smaller the molecular weight of the same ratio, the faster the degradation.

2.  What molecular weight of PLGA is suitable for 3D printing? Is it usually extrusion printing after solvent dissolution or melt extrusion printing?

In terms of the mechanical properties of the polyme, PLGA with molecular weight of 50,000 or less is relatively brittle and is not unsuitable for 3d printing.

Most of 3D printing is melt printings. It is more convenient to operate. Solution printing involves solvent evaporation. It will appear tiny bubbles and cause the model to shrink slightly. For example, if we make filament through solution squeezes, it will be round when comes out, but it will be flat after the solvent evaporates. If you zoom to look the surface, there will be small holes in the profile, meanwhile there will be thermal degradation in melt printing.

3. what is the best Solvent for PLGA?

The best solubility is hexamethylene isopropanol, and the second best are dichloro and chloroform.  If the ga content is higher than 35%), Other solvents (acetone, tetrahydrofuran, ethyl acetate) are not easy to dissolve.

4. Why PLGA are generally flocculent or granular, but no thread or filament?

After the PLGA is polymerized, purification treatment should be carried out. Unreacted monomers, low molecular weight polymers, and a small amount of catalyst and initiator should be removed as much as possible through the process of dissolution and precipitation. They were initially processed into flocculent, but flocculent The specific surface area is very large, and the polymer is not easy to preserve and is easy to degrade, so later it is changed to particles.

About PLGA thread or filament, the processing is more difficult. If it is melt-extruded, there will be thermal degradation.

5. Which is better for Tissue engineering materials, L or DL type?

This depends on your actual use. There is no specific requirement on which is better and which is not good. The L-type plga has high mechanical strength and slow degradation. D-type is right-handed and crystalline type is basically not used. In the same same ratio and molecular weight, DL-type ‘s mechanical strength is small and degradation is fast. Both are useful, which is depending on your actual requirements.

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